From time to time you will here some say that they’re trying to restore THE New Testament church, with emphasis on THE. For example, a whole movement, Stone-Campbell of the early-mid nineteenth century (non-instrumental Church of Christ, Christian Church, and Disciples of Christ), was all about restoring New Testament Christianity.
They wanted to have nothing to do with synods, creeds, or man-made traditions. In fact, the founding leaders left the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, to form this new movement, often considering the denominations they left sinful.
1. Did their experiment succeed? Of course not!
Ironically, this new movement was all about man-made traditions, the very thing they condemned as sinful. What they considered “the marks of the true church” were nothing more than the teachings and philosophies of their leaders.
2. What New Testament Church?
The one in Acts? Which one? At Jerusalem or Antioch? How about Corinth or Ephesus?
Throughout church history, these kinds of movements sound awfully wonderful and the like. But let’s not delude ourselves: there is NO RESTORING the New Testament Church. Such talk is futile.
Not even the 16th century Reformers sought to restore THE New Testament Church. The church has always been there. They only sought to rediscover certain principles (for example, the solas of the Reformation).
Rather than seeking to restore THE New Testament Church and becoming sectarian in the process, it would be if we all seek to be more like Christ to one another, i.e., laying down our lives for one another because we are compelled by agape love.